Between posting as duty, reading the OOAD book, snoozing and watching AFL on TV, I was caught in two separate conversations with senior people who have at least expressed their sentiments about our impending termination from the service. One is a Lt Colonel and the other is our own Sergeant Major.
While looking for a certain someone at the office, I mentioned about the sudden decrease in strength of officers in our command, bringing us to the topic of my batchmates and I leaving the organization for good. He suddenly popped a suggestion.
Why not get assigned at the battalion for the last month of your stay?
For sure, he's got to be kidding because females would never be allowed take post beyond the brigade level. At least, he said, I can have a genuine experience of how it feels to take part in the war (against insurgency). And I could have something to tell the kids in the future and for that matter, share it to everyone else whom you want to inspire, like a personnel who's about to leave the service. And so I was told the story of how that one month changed his lifetime commitment some 20 years ago.
Like myself, he got into the organization for a special reason. He's an athlete, a judoka. But he has always wondered how life goes in the battlefield. When their 3-year term was about to end, he decided to spend that one month with a battalion engaging in combat operations.
While raiding an infested area, some unfortunate sequence of events led to the death of their officer, a young lieutenant who hasn't even completed a year of commissionship service. This enraged his compatriots, the men who dearly loved their commander, and prompted them to commit a heinous crime.
In 1986, according to him, 21 soldiers massacared a whole village and spared not even the dogs. His stood aghast at the scenario. What terrified him more was how the soldiers afforded to loot the belongings of the people after committing the crime.
There then, he realized a serious problem about the attitude of organization's men. And so instead of running away and promising never to go back, he entered the commissioned service and became an officer.
He's a practising born-again Christian, and a colleague of our former deputy commander (one of those people I'm really proud to have met in my entire life). He admits that in the presence of a family to support, the wage of a soldier hardly comes by to fulfill their basic needs. He can't even afford to give the kids his perceptual decent education (i.e. private schools). So, if a member of the AFP seems to be living an extravagant life, it either he's married to a rich partner (Gen. Alicante in Maria Flordeluna, lol) or he's living beyond his means. But if his commitment to the service weighs more than what is upheld by most people, that's his own plight and he's proud to influence at least a handful of people.
If I were "single" and doesn't worry about my own family's immediate needs in the future, I could have been swayed to look back and consider the option of becoming an officer. I also wouldn't mind if I became gullible enough to be inspired by an almost self-righteous biography.
Remember, I am also a frustrated JVP?
However, my priorities have greatly changed since during the past months. Blame my impatience, but I can't wait for 20 years to initiate change. In the military, when you're among the lowest of the mammals, the least you could do is follow and wait 'til you become and the greatest is to perform at your best and wait 'til the higher in rank takes credit for your accomplishment.
The ideal organization is inexistent, yes. But there are better ones.
I'm more concerned now about my family more than the (inefficient) service I would have rendered for the country. Hence, I'm in search of a better opportunity, a better organization.